Sarah Kenchington builds her mechanical instruments from discarded materials. Bicycle spokes, typewriters, the inner tubes of tractor tyres are combined to create unique musical machines which emit a discordant array of moans, squeaks and chimes. Kenchington’s work offers a contemporary manifestation of a long history of the artist giving birth to machines (from Leonardo da Vinci, through to Heath Robinson, Tinguely and Michael Landy), yet Kenchington’s machines are anything but automata, remaining fundamentally dependent on an interaction with the human to come to life. Kenchington relishes the unpredictable nature of her instruments, a quality which means that despite being author of both instrument and the music it emits, she is never entirely in control of what happens. Her performances evolve in conversation with or in response to the machine, a process which for Kenchington is akin to playing an improvised duet with another musician.
For Parley, Kenchington continues to relinquish control, creating her very first instrument to be played by people other than herself. Wind Pipes for Edinburgh is her most ambitious construction to date, created from over 100 decommissioned organ pipes, assembled from salvage yards and eBay. Kenchington’s instruments depend for their creation and playing on significant physical labour, and Wind Pipes is no exception, requiring at least 6 willing bodies to man the bellows.
For the duration of the Edinburgh Art Festival, Kenchington’s Wind Pipes offer a gathering place for exchange between amateur and professional musicians alike. The work is accompanied by a programme of specially composed performances and commissions, offering a unique site for artistic dialogue and experimentation during the festival. The composers taking part include Daniel Padden, Colin Broom, Muris, Brian Irvine and eagleowl and friends.
A Sundays 1st Aug – 1st Sep there will be a series of 4 workshops open to children and young people exploring the amazing Wind Pipes for Edinburgh created by Sarah Kenchington. Rows of colour coded pipes and giant bellows and keyboards made of 2p coins create an unusual musical playground, which we will add to with other instruments and singing.
Each workshop will use the Wind Pipes to look at different musical ideas and composing music together as a group.
Workshops are open to all ages and no prior musical experience is required. Please bring an instrument along if you have one. If not, don’t worry!
There are 15 places at each workshop. Produced by Tinderbox for the Edinburgh Art Festival.